|Subject: News from East Timor Press 7 Feb
1. Reconciliation, At Best, Must Start In The Country (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page lead)
A member of the National Council Clementino dos Reis Amaral expressed strong hope that the reconciliation process between the Timorese people, in order to be on track, will be strongly emphasized in the country.
“I heard that within the country, itself, there’s talk of revenge with one another. Because of that, I hope reconciliation, first, focuses on those in the country before we talk about reconciliation with those overseas,” said Clementino.
According to him, reconciliation will only be on track if both parties are patient and put past bitterness aside.
“When reconciliation is going on well, in the country, only than can we feel at ease to give the freedom for those overseas to return,” he added.
“I’m talking in such a manner because I too have relatives in West Timor. Those that want reconciliation, are the pro-autonomy political elites and the militias. For the ordinary people, even without reconciliation, they will return if there are no pressures from us or even from them,” said Clementino.
2. Bishop Belo: Don’t Force Refugees To Return If They Don’t Want To (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page top box)
“Don’t force refugees to return to their homes, if they don’t want to. Let them make their own choices on whether they want to return to Timor Lorosae or stay in West Timor and be Indonesian citizens,” said Bishop Belo.
According to Bishop Belo, Church leaders in East Timor have done whatever possible to pave the way for refugees in West Timor to return. One of those important steps was the 5 January 2001 meeting in Dare.
“The Church door is wide open to my flock who are still in West Timor. I have made known my position. If those who want to return, please do so. If you want to become Indonesian citizens, please stay there (West Timor),” said Bishop Belo.
3. Terror and Intimidation, the Enemies of Anti-Violence Youths (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page third lead)
Youths protesting against violence, outside the UNTAET headquarters on Monday, said terror and intimidation should be eliminated in East Timor. They also wanted those who committed acts of violence to be dealt with by the law.
The youths in their petition to UNTAET said cases involving robbery, rape and murder are continuously haunting the ordinary Timorese people and even internationals.
The petition said, the acts of violence appeared to be carried out in an organized manner and were even committed in the presence of Civpol. Nevertheless, they said, no serious action was taken against the perpetrators.
The President of Ojetil (a students group), Gregorio da Cunha Saldanha, commenting on Sergio de Mello’s report to the UN Security Council that the elections be on 30 August, said the date was suitable for the country.
He said, the date was historical for the East Timorese people.
“From now youths and other members of society are ready for the 30 August elections. These elections will be the first for East Timor. I think the youths are ready because during the popular consultation we were ready too,” he said.
Gregorio said he did not agree with the extension of the UNTAET mandate. He said if the mandate was further extended, the Timorese people would be denied opportunities to take control of their lives.
5. Indonesian Journalists Visit East Timor (Timor Post, Page 2)
A delegation of 15 journalists from Indonesia, yesterday, arrived in Dili. The delegation is here to see the conditions in East Timor and will also be travelling to the various districts.
Yesterday, the delegation met with the President of the Timor Lorosae Journalists Association, Gil Guterres and UNTAET’s spokesperson Barbara Reis.
Barbara Reis told the delegation that there were visible developments in all the sectors, since UNTAET began administering the country after the 1999 violence. In the field of education, for example, she said 2000,000 children were going to school. She added, there were 5,000 students enrolled in the university.
6. Falintil Veterans Return Home (Suara Timor Lorosae, Editorial Page 5)
“About 1,700 Falintil members did not pass the test (for entry into the National Defence Force) and have been discharged to return home to their villages. We hope the Falintil veterans will be able to reintegrate fast into civilian life and use their fighting spirit to develop the areas they are in.
The development of East Timor is not only limited to defense but also includes the civil society for the country to face the elections, on the path to independence. This, however, is not an easy job.
The Falintil veterans have to put aside the “romantic” life they had in the jungles, previously, while fighting the previous regime. At that time they had the full support of the people who always gave them food, clothes, money and medicine. This support of the people was important for Falintil to continue on the struggle till the Indonesians were driven out the country. On the hand, we hope the people too have to be more understanding and give the Falintil veterans a chance to reintegrate into civil society because they are undergoing a huge transition from military life.
Let us remember that what we enjoy today has been due to the sacrifices of Falintil.”
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